Let’s face it: most of us have been in a toxic relationship. Some of us may even be in one now.
You’ll know it’s toxic when either you or your partner feel like the relationship has negative effects on your well-being. You may regularly feel attacked, less than, and generally unsupported by your partner.
If unchecked, this can lead to worse situations, like abuse or violence.
But here’s the good news:
If you’re reading this, you may be in a toxic relationship, but you’re also open to the possibility that you could be contributing to that.
Congratulations on having an open mind, and a willingness to learn and grow!
Let’s find out if you’re the toxic one in your relationship with these 9 signs:
1) You use aggressive language
The first way to know if you’re the toxic one is by checking your language in heated arguments.
The truth is, calling names, swearing at them, and other verbally harmful expressions are never a good sign that you’re communicating in a healthy way.
Sometimes, this can be a learned behavior from our parents or former relationships.
For example, after an abusive and traumatic relationship ended, I would sometimes find myself speaking the way my ex spoke to me, to my new partner.
Once I realized this was hurtful, unacceptable, and toxic, I made an effort to transform the way I communicate when I’m frustrated.
It’s not easy to reverse years of normalized aggression – but trust me, your relationship will be so much healthier and happier for it.
2) You feel jealous often
Another sign of toxicity is if you find yourself often feeling jealous and acting from it.
That means getting triggered about small events, digging through their phone, reading their messages with others, or getting unreasonably jealous about their interactions with other people.
This usually comes from extreme insecurity within you and can only be healed with deep reflection, therapy, self-development, and ultimately self-love.
On the other hand:
If you believe your partner is going out of their way to trigger jealousy in you, this could be a different situation called ‘gaslighting’.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation — they are trying to trigger your anger, emotion, or other negative reactions and make you seem like the toxic one.
So assess this carefully!
3) You emotionally manipulate
Since we’ve mentioned it now, it only makes sense to delve into the topic of emotional manipulation.
Truth be told, manipulation is a pretty broad topic. Some manipulation tactics can include:
- Emotional outbursts
- Silent treatment
- Withholding love
- Guilt tripping
What do all of these have in common?
They all serve to influence someone’s feelings, thoughts, behavior, or in the case of gaslighting – undermine their perception of reality.
Sounds pretty intense, right?
Sure – but that doesn’t mean you can’t be doing some of these without realizing it.
In fact, it’s pretty easy to be unconsciously doing any of these if you desperately want your partner’s attention or sympathy. Keep in mind, this usually comes from wanting power over them, their feelings or behavior.
So if you relate to any of these actions, consider working through the source of these issues with a therapist, coach, or mentor who can help you get to the root of it and heal for good.
4) You view your partner negatively
For sure, low points can happen in a relationship, and your relationship changes over time and becomes different after the honeymoon period.
But consider this:
If you find yourself constantly viewing your partner in a negative light, or constantly find yourself criticizing, belittling, or making them feel inadequate – you may be the one creating the toxicity in your relationship.
Nobody deserves to be made to feel bad, less than, or demeaned on a constant basis, especially by those closest to them.
Even more than that, someone who feels constantly criticized or belittled is far less likely to become who you’re expecting them to be by always pointing out their flaws.
Encouragement and support are always the healthy ways to help someone grow – if that’s what they want too, that is!
Remember that they are on their path, and it’s possible that their goal of who they want to be differs from your expectations.
If you really can’t let them be themselves, it could be time for a serious conversation about where you are both heading.
5) You don’t take accountability
In a healthy relationship, both parties must take accountability for their own actions.
If you’re always expecting your partner to apologize or take accountability and you rarely or never do, then you may be adding to the toxicity of the relationship.
This can happen as blame-shifting when you’ve caused hurt, avoiding apologizing to your partner, and other avoidant behaviors that don’t allow for growth.
6) You’re dismissive
When someone shares their feelings and boundaries with you, they’re expressing vulnerability and trust.
If you don’t acknowledge or respect your partner’s feelings, or worse, dismiss them or consistently overstep their emotional or physical boundaries – you’re not creating safety and trust within the relationship.
Empathizing with your partner’s feelings, taking their experiences seriously, giving an acknowledgment, or an apology if needed are all very important ways of creating a healthy relationship.
It’s the only healthy way to grow from past arguments and move forward.
7) You want them all to yourself
Humans need multiple strong social connections to thrive.
Increased social isolation can sometimes happen in long-term relationships. But if you’re the one controlling that by guilt-tripping or making them feel bad if they are expressing that they want to hang out with their friends or family, then this is a toxic behavior to look at.
Think of it like this:
Having healthy, independent connections brings new perspectives, stories, and energy to your dynamic that can benefit your relationship. Maintaining some sense of independence helps to keep the spark alive!
So focus on your close connections and let your partner focus on theirs.
8) You start conflicts over trivial issues
Do you ever find yourself getting triggered over small things and starting a big argument out of them?
If so, this is for you.
Creating drama or conflict over a small mistake is often indicative of something deeper, like a need for attention or an inability to regulate your emotions.
If your partner makes an innocent mistake that they can’t reverse, like dropping a little melted ice cream on your shirt, there’s no need to turn that into an argument.
Remember that you make mistakes too, and trying to act from empathy and forgiveness next time will go a long way.
9) You’re not supportive
If your partner has told you that they don’t feel supported by you, please read on.
Maybe you feel that you are being supportive, but it’s not in the way they need. If so, start a conversation with them about how they want and need support.
If you actively avoid supporting them, because: you secretly resent their achievements, are afraid they will outgrow you, are jealous, feel that they don’t deserve support, or want to control them – then this is toxic behavior.
Your partner deserves someone who will be there for them emotionally, physically or practically, just like you do too.
So what’s clear is this:
You and your partner both deserve a loving, supportive, honest, and understanding companion.
The more you show up as this kind of partner, the more they will for you, too – even unconsciously.
So be honest with yourself.
If you related to these signs that you are the toxic one in the relationship, it’s time to take the initiative to reflect on where these behaviors may have stemmed from.
Did you take on these habits from someone in your past?
This is usually the case – and you have the power to change and heal from it. It may take time, but you are never alone. Support is there if you look for it.
Remember that learning and taking accountability is the first step to transforming your relationship to a healthy one. Your entire life will change for the better!